19 November 2011

Euphoria in an Idiocracy: Fast Lane to the Finish Line

Crystal Meth effects have been described by users as having endless energy, no need to eat or sleep, super focus, productivity, and a feeling of euphoria...Methamphetamine causes numerous neurotransmitters to be released in the brain, producing a sense of euphoria that may last as long as 12 hours, depending on how the drug was taken...Crystal Meth is taken orally, snorted, injected, or smoked. Immediately after smoking or intravenous injection, the user experiences an intense sensation called "rush" or a "flash". This sensation lasts only a few minutes and is described as being extremely pleasurable. Those who take crystal meth orally or snort it also experience a sense of euphoria. _Effects of Crystal Meth
How the World Ends

Crystal meth is taking over the world, from China to Australia to California to Africa to the Middle East. In Africa, it may be considered a stealth epidemic, since many official statistics have not caught up with the reality. For example, drug seizures at Lagos airport in 2010:
NDLEA’s Lagos Airport Commander Alhaji Hamza Umar said: “In 2010, the command arrested 200 drug suspects, including 172 males and 28 females, with 399.431kg of drugs consisting of 237.5kg of cocaine, 44.907kg of heroin, 42.050kg of cannabis, 74.755kg of methamphetamine/amphetamine and 0.240 grammes of other psychotropic substances. _The Nation
Note that only cocaine seizures out-massed methamphetamine seizures. As recently as 2008, methamphetamine abuse in Africa was rarely acknowledged:
It is reported that there are about 14 - 22 million cannabis abusers, 160, 000 - 340,000 opiate addicts, and 640,000 - 830,000 cocaine users for the population aged between 15 - 64 in the West African region in 2008, while the rate of abuse of drugs by youth is higher than the world average... _AllAfrica
Muslim countries are not immune: Iranian couriers are becoming particularly active in the worldwide distribution of methamphetamine.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's 2011 Global ATS Assessment report, Iran in five years became a major producer of crystal methamphetamines and a supplier of 'mules' trafficking the drug to Asia....Iran is a country with a high population of people already addicted to opiates and heroin.
'The are skills there in terms of producing drugs, and we see a production base there exceeding local demand,' he said _M&C

In Pursuit of Euphoria

Iran is both a large-scale producer and a consumer of drugs-of-abuse.
Today's Islamic Republic offers premonitions of a narcodystopia. Take a car ride through Tehran at night, and your driver may tell you that the underage girls in chadors who offer esfand -- seeds that are burned to ward off the evil eye -- along the highways are really selling sex to enable addicted fathers. Ride the metro, and you will see battered children pitching trinkets and fortunes to sustain their parents' habits. Visit a poor southern suburb like Shahr-e Rey, and you might see a cigarette vendor in the bazaar with a sideline in used needles. Walk through Khaju Kermani Park on the capital's southeastern outskirts, and you might witness young girls smoking crystal meth in full view of park authorities, while in the background a tall, badly sunburned man with track marks on his arms staggers around in an ill-fitting, woman's blouse. _FP

Euphoria in Iran

China's drug addicts try to stay out of sight whenever possible. But the problem of drug abuse in China is growing, along with the growing sense of alienation and unhappiness as large numbers of Chinese begin to give up their hopes.
Shenzhen Overpass

If you haven't read Robert D. Kaplan's The Coming Anarchy, you should do so. Kaplan has enlarged the article into a book length treatment, also worth reading.

Drugs of abuse find many niches, in a wide array of lives and geographical locations. Besides destroying human capital in drug users, the drug trade provides profits for powerful and murderous criminal cartels and gangs from Mexico to South America to Africa to Central Asia.

Powerful mind altering drugs are widely used to subdue kidnapped girls who disappear into the sex trade world-wide. These drugs are also used to induce loyalty and motivation to kill in the kidnapped child-soldiers of Africa and elsewhere. Even if these youngsters eventually escape their human captors and manipulators, it is not certain that they will ever escape their chemical captors. And it is not likely that they will ever reach their potential.

It has been claimed that in the UK, high IQ is associated with higher rates of drug use, and it has been claimed that in the US, children of European descent are more likely to abuse drugs than children of African descent. Certainly drugs tend to flow to where the money is, and there are no populations that are totally immune to the lure of drug induced euphoria and escape. Human capital is being destroyed all over.

What is the antidote? Drug legalisation would solve some of the problems by removing most of the criminality involved, and much of the violence. Large problems would remain after legalisation, of course, just as the US still has a lot of problems from alcohol abuse long after the repeal of prohibition. But we should not expect perfection or utopia from our policy choices, only a form of dynamic and realistic optimisation.

Al Fin sociologists and substance abuse specialists have long felt that society needs to develop and make available drugs which provide mild euphoric effects, along with a cognitive boost, and various healthy side effects that are lacking in all currently known drugs of abuse. In other words, rather than prohibiting the experimentation with drugs, youth would be encouraged to experiment with a wide array of stimulatory and euphoric activities -- some of which would involve mind altering drugs. They would also involve music, dance, games, risk-taking of various types, strenuous exercise, ritualised combat of a non-lethal variety, electromagnetic brain stimulation, virtual reality scenarios, and other non-pharmaceutical activities designed to satisfy the urge to experiment with physical, mental, and spiritual states.

But all such activity should occur in the context of the wider experience of developing personal talents and competencies, and practical skills. The strongest, most lasting, and healthiest high, is the high of achievement and a happy contentment with oneself. Only in such a state can a person fully open up to true sharing and love with other persons.

But before societies at large learn the lessons that Al Fin social professionals are trying to teach, a lot of very bad things are going to happen around the world as a result of the failure to learn these basic lessons in child-raising.

Be ready. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that higher methamphetamine abuse is more or less a side effect of the modern, fast-paced lifestyle in order to keep competitive in an ever technologically-advancing and increasingly automated world? Or perhaps people are taking these types of drugs in order to gain temporary gains in terms of things like study and work. Or perhaps, like religion, people naturally lean towards altered state of consciousness as a function of human biology?

Sunday, 20 November, 2011  
Blogger al fin said...

You can answer your own questions by asking yourself, "What are the alternatives?"

But that would only be a starting point.

Sunday, 20 November, 2011  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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